Developing multimetric indices for monitoring ecological restoration progress in salt marshes
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Effective tools for monitoring the status of ecological restoration projects are critical for the management of restoration programs. Such tools must integrate disparate data comprised of multiple variables that describe restoration status, including the condition of environmental stressors, landscape connectivity, ecosystem resilience, and ecological structure and function, while communicating these concepts effectively to a wide range of stakeholders. In this paper we describe the process of constructing multimetric indices (MMIs) for monitoring restoration status for restoration projects currently underway on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. During this process, an initial suite of measurements is filtered for response and sensitivity to ecosystem stressors, eliminating measurements that provide little information and reducing future monitoring efforts. The retained measurements are rescaled into comparable domain metrics and assembled into MMIs. The MMIs are presented in terms of established restoration theories, including restoration trajectory and restoration endpoint targets.
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